The bloodshed has renewed calls for gun control in the US, where citizens are 10 times as likely to die from firearms as those in other developed countries. Trump’s remarks don’t address the gun issue at all—he spoke of a “gunman” and a “shooter,” but didn’t mention the automatic weapon that shooter may have used, or the debate over the need for laws to curb misuse of guns.
Before running for office, Trump supported Barack Obama’s calls for stricter gun laws after the 2012 shooting in Sandy Hook that killed dozens of children:
And in 2000, Trump wrote that he supported a ban on assault weapons.
After declaring his candidacy for president in 2015, Trump was backed by the National Rifle Association, and he became only the second president in history to speak at the powerful gun lobby group’s convention this April. “The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end,” Trump said then.
Here are his full remarks about the Las Vegas shooting:
Thank you. My fellow Americans, we are joined together today in sadness, shock, and grief. Last night, a gunman opened fire on a large crowd, at a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. He brutally murdered more than 50 people and wounded hundreds more. It was an act of pure evil.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are working closely with local authorities to assist with the investigation and they will provide updates as to the investigation and how it develops. I want to thank the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and all of the first responders for all of their courageous efforts and for helping to save the lives of so many. The speed with which they acted is miraculous, and prevented further loss of life. To have found the shooter so quickly after the first shots were fired is something for which we will always be thankful and grateful. It shows what true professionalism is all about.
Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one. A parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you, and we are here for you, and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period.
Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words, for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve. To the wounded who are now recovering in hospitals, we are praying for your full and speedy recovery, and pledge to you our support from this day forward. In memory of the fallen, I have directed that our great flag be flown at half staff. I will be visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with law enforcement, first responders, and the families of the victims.
In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one, and it always has. We call upon the bonds that unite us—our faith, our family, and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, and the comfort of our common humanity. Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence, and though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today and always will, forever.
In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy. But we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light, and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope.
Melania and I are praying for every American who has been hurt, wounded, or lost the ones they love so dearly in this terrible, terrible attack. We pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace, and we pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred, and from fear. May God bless the souls of the lives that are lost. May God give us the grace of healing, and may God provide the grieving families with strength to carry on. Thank you. God Bless America. Thank you.
In contrast, in remarks on the Orlando shooting that killed 50, former president Barack Obama pledged the US government would “be relentless against terrorist groups.” He also condemned the politics that allowed powerful assault weapons, “instruments of death,” to continue to be sold freely in America, and called for Congress to pass new laws to “end the plague of violence that these weapons of war inflict on so many young lives.”